About 100 students and faculty demonstrated in Stewart Plaza today, chanting in unison, and calling for the resignation of President Mark McCoy.
There were few faculty members present at the protest and the majority were students. But both held signs saying things such as, “I want my deposit back,” “Impeach McCoy” and “I can’t transfer.”
Demonstrators walked past East College around to the entrance of the Union Building at Hannah and College Street where members of the Board of Trustees were meeting in the Hamilton Room. The Board of Trustees were meeting for their regular on-campus meetings that happen multiple times a year.
Members of the Board of Trustees stood at the top of Hoover steps and looked at the students and faculty holding their signs at the bottom chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, McCoy, you’ve got to go.” While they stood there, junior and organizer Summer Pappachen listed their demands: that University leadership reverse recently announced faculty and staff healthcare cuts, give pay raises to faculty in keeping with inflation, restore academic budgets by 10 percent, abolish the demonstration policy, fire McCoy, and fulfill all eight of the Association of African American Students’ (AAAS) demands from last semester, in the midst of a sequence of racist incidents.
When Kathy Vrabeck ’85, the chair of the Board of Trustees, was asked about the protest, she said, “I just want to stand here right now, and listen.”
McCoy was not present throughout the protest, which lasted roughly 30 minutes.
The protest was planned and led by the Democratic Socialists of DePauw. Organizer and junior Austin Lewis said their main goal is to get McCoy out of his presidential seat. “We don’t want a nice, easy resolution. We want McCoy out.”
Students and faculty were also protesting what Lewis referred to as “lingering and unresolved issues of race that occurred on campus last semester.” In the 2018 spring semester, six reported bias incidents occurred on DePauw’s campus. AAAS made a list of eight demands for the administration; the eight demands were not publicized. As of now, seven of the eight demands have not been met.
On Tuesday, 22 student organizations signed a Letter to the Editor in The DePauw to express their lack of confidence in the administration.
Cole Martin, junior, believes the faculty healthcare cuts are taking away from DePauw’s quality of education, “When they [the administration] threaten to cut professor salary and even lay off professors, especially tenured professors, that deprives students of the promise of DePauw, which is smaller class sizes, quality of education, and quality of relationships.”
It was announced at a recent faculty meeting that the administration may cut positions in an effort to trim the budget.
The faculty had several votes this week about whether they should have a vote of no-confidence in McCoy; however, in the first two votes no more than 20 percent of faculty voted, according to an email by chair of the faculty, Howard Brooks. There was another vote through e-Services that closed today at 11:45 a.m.
When asked what the protest means to him, Professor of Communication Kent Menzel, said, “I think it means an opportunity for the students, the faculty, and the staff of DePauw to speak out on a number of things that are wrong with our University right now and that stand between us and a bright future.”
Grace Coleman, sophomore, transferred from Purdue University to DePauw this year. Although she has found great friends at DePauw, she is “really disappointed in the lack of respect the administration has for faculty and students of color.” Before transferring, she was not made aware of the six reported bias incidents that occurred last spring semester. Coleman wants the administration to show more commitment to both its faculty and students. “We are here and we are going to fight for what we deserve, what we are paying for, and what we were promised.”
Both student and faculty desire more respect and commitment from the University. Lewis said, “We don’t want to compromise with the Board of Trustees, we don’t want to compromise with the administration. We’ve done that enough.”